Sort-of OT: Learning Python

Alex Tweedly alex at
Sun May 7 12:49:52 EDT 2006

Rodney Somerstein wrote:

> Also, while Bob Ippolito has done what seems like a fairly nice job on 
> py2app, the standalone builder for Mac Python, he seems to hold a very 
> low regard for readable documentation. He wrote the tool for himself 
> and makes it available for the good of the community. But, people 
> should just know how to make it work as far as I can tell. He will 
> answer questions, but the answers usually assume that you have a 
> sufficiently deep knowledge of Python to understand them. The problem 
> seems to be that Mac Python is an all volunteer effort and no one has 
> volunteered to write comprehensive documentation tying Python and 
> py2app together so that a real newbie has a good chance of 
> understanding it all. It is understandable that no one has written the 
> same documentation for the Mac for wxPython and PythonCard as they 
> aren't Mac specific.
> The best approach, as far as I can tell is to first of all learn 
> Python. You do this by first installing Python 2.4.3 from the build 
> available at This page is a basic 
> page describing how to get started and why to install Python rather 
> than using the one built into OS X. Then, use any decent book on 
> Python to learn the language itself.
> Next, I would learn to use py2app. Unfortunately, the only good 
> resource that I know for learning this tool is to join the MacPython 
> SIG mailing list - 
> You will 
> get all the help you need there with a little asking.
> Then, learn wxPython for developing GUI apps. You can probably do this 
> at the same time that you learn PythonCard. Again, join the PythonCard 
> mailing list and probably the wxPython mailing list for help.
> If you happen to find a resource that shows you how to create a 
> standalone hello world app in Python on the Mac, please post about it 
> here. I've never seen such a thing but would love to find one.

Good advice - but I'd switch the order around a bit - use PythonCard to 
learn how to program in Python, I find an easy to use GUI much more 
friendly for learning. And I'd leave py2app until later.

PythonCard comes with a tool (standaloneBuilder) which does a good job 
of easing the problems of building distributable executables for Windows 
and Linux. The Beta version of it is much improved to offer a choice of 
tools - and the next step after that will be to add py2app support. So 
it's not there today - but there is light at the end of the tunnel for a 
GUI front-end to building distributables even on Mac.

And the relevance of all this to the Rev list ? To remind us how much 
there is to be grateful for in having the ease of use and ease of 
distribution provided by RunRev. Rev ain't perfect - but it does have a 
lot of advantages.

Alex Tweedly

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